The Showroom

Communal Knowledge

Communal Knowledge is a programme of collaborative projects where artists and designers are invited to work with community groups, organisations, schools and individuals from The Showroom’s neighbourhood.

Set up in 2010 and led by Louise Shelley our Collaborative Projects Curator, Communal Knowledge has responded to numerous local, social and political shifts. Through conversations around shared interests and concerns, projects aim to generate playful and experimental avenues for critical reflection on issues at stake locally.

The Church Street area, NW8, is bordered by the Edgware Road, Regent's Canal, Lisson Grove and the Westway, and is known for its distinctive and diverse communities from across the Middle East and Africa. Culturally and community rich, the neighbourhood also has the fourth lowest median household income of all the wards in London and 50 per cent of children live below the poverty line.

Much of the emphasis is on finding ways to re-think or ‘unlearn’ established norms, values, codes, roles and relations, to create visibility, and to produce an alternative body of knowledge gained through communal activity and experience. Projects can take the form of commissions which develop through a year-long series of workshops and research, culminating in a presentation or event in the gallery space; or they can function as long-term collaborations, some of which are off-site, embedded within the local community.

Our approach is unique in the way in which we build strong relationships through projects developed over the long-term, and in how we regard each and every person involved in them as a collaborator. Trust and a conscious awareness of process and the impact a project can have beyond its existence, are key to our way of working. Some groups and individuals are now starting to get involved in projects within our broader programme, or in some cases are taking on a more proactive role within artistic productions.

For more information or to get involved please contact Louise Shelley or phone 020 7724 4300.

Local groups and organisations

Ada Court
Church Street Neighbourhood Management
City of Westminster College
Fourth Feathers
Independent Workers of Great Britain
Justice for Domestic Workers
King Solomon Academy
Marylebone Bangladesh Society
Marylebone Project
Penfold Community Hub at 60 Penfold Street
Portman Early Childhood Centre
Pursuing Independent Pathways [PIP]
Quintin Kynaston School
The Cockpit Theatre
The Migrants Resource Centre
The Prince's Trust
The Seymour Homeless Art Collective
Westminster Adult Education services

Communal Knowledge is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s Charity, John Lyon’s Charity, and Garfield Weston Foundation.


  1. Brows_logo
    Event Brows Magazine Launch

  2. Nika
    Nika Dubrovsky Anthropology for Kids

  3. Otherstorieshivaids_showroom_web
    Event Other Stories of HIV/AIDS: Culture, History, and the Ongoing Epidemic

  4. Keys
    Event Public  Meeting | Cooperatives and their potential for artists and art institutions

  5. Fiona
    Event Fiona Jack: Using our hands to Organise

  6. School
    Event Schooling & Culture launch events

  7. Fete
    Event Penfold Street Fete

  8. 5434e9a6625a92a89f1072dc077d2d82
    Event Micro Rainbow Refugee Week Fundraiser

  9. Img_9567-1
    Event Cristina Lina > Public Play exhibition at IOE

  10. Participation-1
    Text Annette Krauss: [In]visible Spaces of Equality

  11. Lah_exhibit_2012_image_1
    Text Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Aural Contract: The Freedom of Speech Itself

  12. Ps
    Video New film looking at The Showroom's local work

  13. Screen_shot_2016-06-09_at_15.17.12
    Exhibition Communal Knowledge at Work

  14. Showroom_-_uriel_tincture-ointment_workshop_dan_weill_photography-154
    Event Putting the Medicinal Garden to Use

  15. Showroom-medicinal_garden-uriel_dan_weill_photography-58
    Event Medicinal garden launch and tour with Uriel Orlow and Michael Heinrich

  16. Wwy_flyer_front_small
    Event People Make Videos Open Workshop

  17. Pmv_cover
    Text People Make Videos, a manual for making community videos

  18. 01_take_over_the_showroom
    Event Take Over | Fourth Feathers TV: Gallery as a neighbourhood model

  19. Now_showing
    Event Cinenova: Now Showing

  20. Now_showing
    Event Cinenova: Now Showing

  21. Hg1
    Exhibition Hengameh Golestan: Witness 1979

  22. 02031
    Event Open discussion with Hengameh Golestan and Justice for Domestic Workers

  23. 02030
    Event Symposium: When does a Revolution Start? Part II

  24. Hiddenfaces
    Event Screening: Hidden Faces by Kim Longinotto

  25. 02030
    Event Symposium: When does a Revolution Start? Part I

  26. 01894
    Event People Make Videos: A week of meetings, video making and screenings

  27. 02011
    Event Schooling & Culture

  28. 01971
    Event What would you make a film about? A video conversation between The Showroom and its neighbours

  29. Rsz_h500_5_12
    Event Cinenova: Now Showing

  30. Now_showing
    Event Cinenova: Now Showing